Horizon CEO resigns, replaced by board member

07/01/2014 12:10 PM

07/01/2014 12:14 PM

After only two years on the job, the CEO of Charlotte-based Horizon Lines resigned and was replaced by a board member last week, the company said in a securities filing Tuesday.

Sam Woodward had a contract to work at the company through June 30, 2015, according to earlier securities filings. In addition to resigning as CEO, he also gave up his position on the company’s board of directors. He was named CEO in June 2012.

Horizon did not give a reason for Woodward’s early departure, and a company representative did not return messages seeking comment.

Horizon, which is based on Colony Road in the SouthPark area, ships freight on ocean ships from the continental U.S. to Hawaii, Puerto Rico and Alaska.

Steven Rubin, a member of Horizon’s board and an intermodal shipping consultant, was appointed interim president and CEO. He will receive a base salary of $75,000 a month, the company said, as well as benefits and stock awards.

Horizon has dealt with legal issues and struggled to improve its performance under Woodward. In its most recent quarter, Horizon lost $26.2 million, worse than its $20.4 million loss during the same quarter a year ago. The company has lost $31 million or more every year for the past five years, with its biggest loss – $229 million – occurring in 2011.

That was the year Horizon agreed to pay a $45 million fine and plead guilty in a price-fixing case that sent three company executives to prison. The Justice Department accused Horizon Lines of colluding with competitors to fix prices on shipping between the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Fallout from the case continues: In March, Horizon agreed to pay an additional $1.5 million settlement to more government departments in the price-fixing case.

Horizon paid Woodward $1 million in 2013 and $6.5 million in 2012. Under the terms of his separation agreement, Woodward will continue to receive his base salary for five months, with payments totaling $250,000, as well as health care for him and his family for 18 months.

“In consideration for the payments and other benefits accruing to Mr. Woodward under the agreement, Mr. Woodward provided the Company with a general release,” Horizon said in its securities filing.

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